Nets star Kyrie Irving has been unavailable for the beginning of the 2021-22 season because of New York City regulations surrounding persons unvaccinated for COVID-19, but it’s a fluid situation that could soon change.
After winning the New York City mayoral election, mayor-elect Eric Adams declared that the he would “revisit how we are going to address the vaccine mandates” with respect to municipal workers, though this change in approach could be adjusted to include entertainers and professional athletes.
Nets coach Steve Nash was asked if a potential lifting of the mandate would impact Irving’s status with the team, to which he responded, “I might be speaking out of turn, but I think if the mandate changes, [Irving] would be welcomed back, for sure.”
Steve Nash on the status of Kyrie Irving if mayor-elect Eric Adams lifts the New York City vaccine mandate:
“If the mandate changes, he’d be welcome back for sure” pic.twitter.com/RktJwZkS7a
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) November 3, 2021
As it stands, Irving remains unvaccinated and cannot participate in the 43 Nets games scheduled to be played in New York City.
Mayor-elect Adams will take office on Jan. 1, 2022.
Why is Kyrie Irving unable to play?
Local guidelines prevent unvaccinated Knicks and Nets players from entering their home arenas for games. (Visiting players follow different protocols.)
With the Nets playing 41 home games at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and two road games at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, it was determined that Irving would only be available to play in 39 of the team’s 82 games this season.
On Oct. 12, Nets general manager Sean Marks released an official statement regarding Irving’s availability:
“Given the evolving nature of the situation and after thorough deliberation, we have decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he is eligible to be a full participant. Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”
How have the Nets played without Kyrie Irving?
The Nets are adjusting to life without Irving and learning about themselves in the process.
Brooklyn dropped its season opener to the defending champion Bucks by 23 points, which was the first of three double-digit losses in its first 10 games. In Irving’s absence, Bruce Brown and Jevon Carter have earned starts in the backcourt, while Kevin Durant has done the heavy lifting as a scorer.
Irving’s absence has also opened the door for free-agent acquisition Patty Mills to take on a big role off the bench.
Nets’ upcoming schedule
|Date||Opponent||Time (ET)||National TV|
|Friday, Nov. 5||at Pistons||7 p.m.||—|
|Sunday, Nov. 7||at Raptors||3:30 p.m.||—|
|Monday, Nov. 8||at Bulls||8 p.m.||NBA TV|
|Wednesday, Nov. 10||at Magic||7 p.m.||—|
|Friday, Nov. 12||at Pelicans||8 p.m.||—|
|Sunday, Nov. 14||at Thunder||7 p.m.||—|
|Tuesday, Nov. 16||vs. Warriors||7:30 p.m.||TNT|
|Wednesday, Nov. 17||vs. Cavaliers||7:30 p.m.||—|
|Friday, Nov. 19||vs. Magic||7:30 p.m.||—|
|Monday, Nov. 22||at Cavaliers||7 p.m.||NBA TV|
On Jan. 1, 2022, the day Adams is scheduled to take office, the Nets will host the Clippers at Barclays Center. It will be the Nets’ 37th game of the 2021-22 season.